1945 City Council Election

Councilors elected in 1943 – these were the incumbents seeking reelection in 1945:

  • Joseph J. Sweeney
  • Woodbury F. Howard
  • Leo A. Roy
  • J. Russell Scott
  • Walter E. Clement
  • William C. Geary
  • Maurice D. Condrey
  • Bart J. Callery Jr.
  • Harold W. Hartwell

1945 Campaign and Election

November 7, 1945 – Wednesday – Howard, Roy and Sweeney Lead in Early Vote Count. Geary nor running fourth; Hockmeyer in fifth place. 

Turnout of 33,469 which was 3928 more than the 1943 election. This would make the “quota for election” about 3300 votes. Turnout increase heaviest in wards 5, 6 and 7 which are “French Republican” wards. This may be do to the drive of Franco-American Union to get out the vote in order to increase its numbers in city government. 

Initial vote had these candidates doing well:

  • Mayor Woodbury F Howard
  • Councilor Joseph J Sweeney
  • Councilor Leo A Roy
  • Councilor William C Geary
  • Newcomer Vincent Hockmeyer
  • Attorney Samuel Sampson
  • Councilor J Russell Scott
  • Councilor Bartholomew J Callery Jr
  • Former Councilor Francis P McMahon Jr.
  • Newcomer Edward F Ryan
  • Former councilor J Elzear Dionne
  • Councilor Walter E Clement
  • Councilor Maurice D Condrey
  • Councilor Harold W Hartwell Jr

November 10, 1945 – Saturday – McMahon moves into ninth spot in council elimination. Councilor Callery drops to eighth after 17th count.

Final Standings:

  • Roy – 3242*
  • Sweeney – 3242*
  • Howard – 3242*
  • Hockmeyer – 3242*
  • Scott – 3242*
  • McMahon – 3242*
  • Geary – 3030
  • Callery – 2583
  • Dionne – 2395

In his Lowell Sun “Politics” column a few days before the election, Frank Barrett (who would eventually go from being the newspaper’s City Hall reporter to City Manager) wrote that Leo Roy was assured a seat because of the Franco-American Union’s big push to get out the vote in Wards 5, 6 and 7 (Barrett writes puts great weight in neighborhood politics even though this is a citywide race). There is also a big French-Republican vote in Ward 6. The most likely Franco candidate after Roy might be present School Committee member Henry Beaudry or former City Councilor J Elzear Dionne. Raymond Lord (also of Franco descent) is a Navy veteran who used to represent Ward 3 on the council but he is considered an outsider in wards 5, 6 and 7. Joseph Dussault, former councilor, does not seem as strong as in other years because of Franco suspicions of his rumored alliance with Joseph Sweeney (who is Irish). 

Bart Callery has a fight on his hands. He might have trouble explaining being in his early 30s, unmarried, no dependents, good health and took advantage of a draft deferment just for being a member of the state legislature. He’s being challenged in his own district by former councilors Walter Cleary and Roger Kane and newcomer Henry “Hank” Garrity. Councilor Walter E Clement from the Highlands is expected to do well. Strong challengers from that neighborhood include Eldred Field and Vincent Hockmeyer. Field topped the ticket in last election’s school committee race and is a Navy combat veteran). Hockmeyer has an excellent war record but this is his first campaign and he has been away from Lowell for several years. 

The reelection of Maurice Condrey is challenged by Brendan McAdams both from Belvidere. James A Deignan has been elected to the council before so he could do well. Hartwell has a shot. He was drafted at age 37 and went even though he could have obtained a deferral. Geary should win.

* * * * *

On Inauguration Day in January 1946, Leo A. Roy was elected mayor on the 8th ballot. He got the votes of J Elzear Dionne, Vincent Hockmeyer, J Russell Scott and himself (all Republicans – the newspapers at the time were much more concerned about the party affiliation of councilors than is the case now) plus one Democrat, Joseph J Sweeney. 

Throughout the balloting, Roy received votes from Hockmeyer, Dionne and himself. Callery voted for himself and Howard voted for himself. Geary got votes from himself, Sweeney and McMahon.